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Kahukura Saga Gets Murkier

Kahukura Saga Gets Murkier

Answers to new parliamentary questions show the New Zealand Film Commission has been totally irresponsible with taxpayers' money over the demise of Larry Parr's Kahukura Productions Ltd, and Chief Executive Ruth Harley - or the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage - should resign, ACT New Zealand Economic Development spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Despite knowing that Kahukura was in deep financial difficulty, the Commission advanced $2.2 million of taxpayers' money to Kahukura. Now that Kahukura has gone into liquidation - on the advice of the Commission -creditors will be lucky to get 20 cents in the dollar back. Taxpayers, however, will be left to whistle.

"Disturbingly, Judith Tizard has made incorrect statements to the media over this sorry saga," Miss Coddington said.

"In December Ms Tizard told Fran Tyler at the Dominion Post she had heard `no suggestion that the commission had any idea Kahukura was in financial difficulty when granted further funding'.

"However, in reply to my written questions [available on request], Tizard admits the commission was told of bounced cheques on March 5, 2001 - six days before the commission finally signed the agreement with Kahukura.

"Despite excuses that the agreement was already `in effect', Tizard is aware more could have been done to protect taxpayers' money," Miss Coddington said.

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